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puzzlr
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puzzlr
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 1:38 pm 
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I don't see this article from the March-April 2018 WTA Magazine on their blog yet so I'll copy it here. I'll add a link if I see it show up.

[Edit] WTA now has a survey up: Want a Simpler Pass System? Take This Survey


The rest of this is verbatim from the magazine.
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A Better Way for Recreation Passes?

Outdoor recreation is part of our culture in Washington, fueled by our diverse and breathtaking public lands. In fact, 72 percent of Washingtonians participate in trail-based recreation every year. Those outdoor enthusiasts have more in common than just a love of nature. Most also find the fee system that goes along with trail access — and the more than 20 different passes and permits that are offered in our state — as complicated and confusing as the tax code.

Recreation pass reviewed

Fortunately, legislators have heard this frustration loud and clear, and in 2016, funding was provided in the state budget to analyze the current recreation access fee system and develop recommendations to improve it.

The well-respected William D. Ruckelshaus Center, which specializes in  nding solutions for a broad range of public policy issues, was contracted to lead the review process. The center pulled together a mix of stakeholders, from state agencies to the U.S. Forest Service to groups like WTA and Back Country Horsemen of Washington, to review and make recommendations for improving the fee system. In December 2017, the recommendations were published in a report, “Recreation Fees in Washington: Options and Recommendations,” and submitted to the Legislature.

Further analysis proposed

The report highlighted three “big idea” options for a total change in the recreation fee system, focusing on the Discover Pass. The options include
  • Developing an alternate funding mechanism that could replace user-based fees (so there would no longer be a Discover Pass)
  • Bundling a number of state passes and/or creating a joint pass that would allow hikers on both state and federal lands with just one pass
  • Creating a single-vehicle Discover Pass to lower the cost (right now each Discover Pass can be used in two vehicles)
These options need to be explored further to see how they could be enacted and what the  financial impacts might be. In his 2018 budget, Gov. Jay Inslee has included $75,000 to conduct a more comprehensive analysis. WTA supports this budget request, and we are advocating for it during the state legislative session. Once this analysis is completed, we hope to see a recommendation for an option that would create a less complex and more equitable recreation access system in Washington state.

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cascadeclimber
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 3:29 pm 
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How about we ask Amazon to pay some state taxes and professional athletes to pay for their own workplaces and make non-motorized use of state owned public land free again?

Spending an additional $75,000 to study altering the way in which the general public is fleeced to use land we already own and pay to maintain seems like throwing good money after bad.

Along the way, let's decouple WTA from its dependence on "trail maintenance" revenue from the DNR and oblige the DNR to show that it has existing budget to maintain new infrastructure before it's built.

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pcg
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 3:52 pm 
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Thanks for posting the links and giving a summary. I’m assuming you’re inviting discussion so here are my comments…
puzzlr wrote:

The report highlighted three “big idea” options for a total change in the recreation fee system, focusing on the Discover Pass. The options include
… creating a joint pass that would allow hikers on both state and federal lands with just one pass.

I already have a Senior Pass that allows me free access to federal land. Why should I pay for another pass that does the same, just to get access to WA land. (I’m assuming that a pass for both Fed and WA would be more expensive than one for just WA.)
puzzlr wrote:

...Creating a single-vehicle Discover Pass to lower the cost (right now each Discover Pass can be used in two vehicles

Didn't it used to be single-vehicle? I thought that going from a single-vehicle pass to a two-vehicle pass was a response to user complaints.
I was glad when it went to two-vehicle as it allows more flexibity, i.e. we use our low-clearance 2wd high mpg vehicle for most trips, but when snow, etc. requires it we use a 4wd. I'm glad to only have to buy one discover pass for both cars, instead of one for each. Going back to a single-vehicle pass is a backward step as it will cost me more to have to buy two separate passes again.

And.. How does Oregon manage and maintain state land w/o requiring a special pass. Yes, if you enter a state park there is a one-time fee, but for the vast majority of state land (not state parks) access is free. Recreational areas (many include boat launches) are free to use except there is a charge to camp at a developed camp site. Oregon seems to be happy to use proceeds from timber sales on state land to pay for trail and parking area maintenance I suppose. I hope someone that knows more about this than me will add more info.
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 4:07 pm 
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Don't have a big problem with Discover Pass as it pretty cheap and we live in Issaquah next to several parks and places where it can be used. What I have a problem with is the Snopark Pass which has become way more expensive and limited with most places that do not have the grooming sticker revert to de facto exclusive snow mobile use. I note there is no thought of adding Snopark Pass to the others. huh.gif

Oh yeah I also have the Geezer Pass hockeygrin.gif

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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 5:34 pm 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
What I have a problem with is the Snopark Pass which has go way more expensive and limited with most places that do not have the grooming sticker revert to de facto exclusive snow mobile use.

Not a fan of sno-park passes, either. Especially since they no longer recognize Washington sno-park passes in Oregon and vice-versa. They're only a worthwhile investment if you're a snowmobiler.
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Huron
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 6:58 pm 
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cascadeclimber wrote:
Spending an additional $75,000 to study altering the way in which the general public is fleeced to use land we already own and pay to maintain seems like throwing good money after bad.

Along the way, let's decouple WTA from its dependence on "trail maintenance" revenue from the DNR and oblige the DNR to show that it has existing budget to maintain new infrastructure before it's built.


Agree. For $75K you could hire someone full time to pick up trash and stock restrooms across the state. No WTA free passess either. Too much incentive for them to support restrictions.
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Pyrites
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 7:58 pm 
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pcg wrote:
ponse to user complaints.
I was glad when it went to two-vehicle as it allows more flexibity, i.e. we use our low-clearance 2wd high mpg vehicle for most trips, but when snow, etc. requires it we use a 4wd. I'm glad to only have to buy one discover pass for both cars, instead of one for each. Going back to a sin

Exactly. It’s one vehicle at a time. Does the State want me to always take me to take the 4wd? Why?
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 8:46 pm 
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The single user pass sounds like an option. One pass for one car at a reduced rate but the 2-car pass will still exist...?
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 8:50 pm 
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All volunteer orgs who work on DNR land can offer a free pass. It's not just WTA volunteers.
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Huron
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 8:59 pm 
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I believe the only reason they want access passes in place is to justify enforcement of passes (Ranger employment plan.) Has anyone done this math?

Total pass revenue - concession fees & marketing & admin - pass enforcement & signage = amount available for trails

My guess is the efficiency of the system is very low.
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Grannyhiker
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 9:23 pm 
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pcg wrote:
How does Oregon manage and maintain state land w/o requiring a special pass.

State lottery funds.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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boot up
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boot up
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 9:27 pm 
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sounds like a load of BS and really just excuses to make it cost MORE.

WA cut of the reciprocation agreement with Oregon.

Oregon passes are cheaper to start with and you don't have to put a car license on it.   We can decide if we need to take the high clearance, lower gas mileage SUV, or the high mileage sedan without paying for an extra pass that would cost more than the gas saved.  Worst case, is the OR pass encourages carpooling.

Only 2 places in Central Oregon even require the state pass.   The good and the bad is that I use both parks very often so its an easy decision.   Tumalo state park is 2 miles from my house, and Smith Rock is worth the 40 minute drive during the week. (too crowded on weekends). 

Sno park pass is cheaper too, especially since you don't have to buy a groomed trail pass as an add-on, as you do in WA(even if you aren't using the groomed track in places).   Of course that is because the only groomed tracks are pay as you go in Oregon, which is actually pretty fair.

No WTA in Oregon.   Oddly, this state seems to be making the trails work without a WTA, and keeping prices lower on trail access......hmmmmm.....

WA is getting a bit out of control on the nickel and diming its people.  No regrets on leaving for me, but it was an amazing place in the 90's  agree.gif

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Riverside Laker
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 11:24 pm 
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I wish we had free gas to get to trailheads.
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RumiDude
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PostFri Mar 09, 2018 1:35 am 
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puzzlr wrote:
The report highlighted three “big idea” options for a total change in the recreation fee system, focusing on the Discover Pass. The options include
  • Developing an alternate funding mechanism that could replace user-based fees (so there would no longer be a Discover Pass)
  • Bundling a number of state passes and/or creating a joint pass that would allow hikers on both state and federal lands with just one pass
  • Creating a single-vehicle Discover Pass to lower the cost (right now each Discover Pass can be used in two vehicles)
These options need to be explored further to see how they could be enacted and what the  financial impacts might be.

My reading of this may be flawed so correct me if I am wrong, but these seem to be three totally different and independent options. So for instance if they went with the first listed option, there would be no need at all for a Discover Pass: "Developing an alternate funding mechanism that could replace user-based fees (so there would no longer be a Discover Pass)" Of the three options listed there, that seems to be the one that would totally remove the necessity for either of the other two options. As a matter of fact all three seem kinda mutually exclusive.

Well, that's how I am reading this.

Rumi

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Grannyhiker
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PostFri Mar 09, 2018 9:57 am 
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Quote:
No WTA in Oregon.   Oddly, this state seems to be making the trails work without a WTA, and keeping prices lower on trail access......hmmmmm.....

Trail Keepers of Oregon, which owns the oregonhikers.org forum and Field Guide.  Mostly confined to NW Oregon and SW Washington, although they are trying to expand statewide.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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